When my husband Darren and I got married we bought each other mountain bikes. We were living in Chicago and therefore I had grand visions of us riding along the Lake Shore Drive path to the beach, simply to lay on a towel and read or grab a drink at a local pub. All while wearing flip flops and a cute hat, of course.
Oh no. Darren had other plans for us which included off-road mountain biking in knee high grass which got stuck in my wheels and almost made me flip my bike. This adventure wouldn’t be complete without a helmet and some sort of awkward woodsy type shirt, not to mention ugly shoes!
Upon completing this ride I declared, (we had been married less than a year) “If you want to stay married to me, you will never lead me down that path again!”
Since then I have covered many miles on various bikes and actually enjoy spinning on our Peloton, too.
Fast forward to to our recent summer vacation. One day on a family trip in Nantucket, Darren says to me, “Let’s go for a bike ride to the middle of the island.” We always rent bikes (since we travel by boat, we have no car) and we were taking a break from the beach. “Sounds good to me,” I said. “How far is that?” “Probably 5 miles each way, but I don’t know if the last part is a paved road.”
Hmm… And not to the mileage, to the ‘not paved road’ part!
Off we went, and all was well until we turned off the paved road onto not a dirt path, but a mile of complete soft sand! Have you ever ridden a bike in sand? OMG, it’s hard! My quads burned, (I had gone for a run that morning!) I was huffing and puffing, but I was feeling good because I was making progress! My bike handles jolted and my bike slid out beneath me. Thankfully I landed on my feet. But my legs were shaking and I was triggered! “UGHHHH, I hate this!!” I said to no one in particular, since Darren was a bit ahead of me.
I took a deep breath.
I realized then and there, that I was just frustrated because this was hard and something new I had not yet mastered. I wasn’t in full control. Did I have to be good at everything right away? Could I accept that this was going to be a huge challenge and so what if I fell?
I got back on the bike and pushed my legs, holding tightly onto the handles. My focus was to keep moving. I realized the faster I went, the easier it was and the more I focused the direction of the bike, the more solid the ride.
Darren and I have traveled many paths over the last 20 years. Some together and some alone. We have always promised to bring back our stories and life lessons to each other, and we have.
We made it a mile in and even though the incline was only 200 feet, it felt like a huge win. We climbed the rocks and enjoyed a 360⁰ view of the island. It was worth the ride, the burn, and the lesson.